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With punters sitting on the stairway and by the open doorways, Abbey Lane was bursting at the seams last night for this John Hewitt International Summer School Open Mic Night special. The later start time of 9pm allowed our regulars to get seated before the students arrived down from Marketplace Theatre and we weren't disappointed. We are constantly surprised by the writing talent and entertainers we have in our mist which reinforces the need for an outlet such as Armagh Theatre Group and Abbey Lane Theatre.

Yvonne Boyle' Coleraine poet.

Last nights' stars were; Marguerite singing 'My Father's house':Tim with his second World Cup story (from Donegal):Michael Callaghan, song; Malachi, poem The Grave problem; Thomas playing guitar/singing; Trish Bennett poetic teenage memories and some more mature: Dennis McArdle singing 'Clady's sour milk cart';Richard O'Leary's story of his Chinese adventures: Peter singing/guitar 'Orange Maid of Sligo' and Croppy Boy' Yvonne Boyle poetry inc 'My beautiful hands'; Kate McGrail singing ; Thomas on Flute and poetry; Peter with 'That's Amore'; Kate with 'Boys from the Co Armagh'; Byddi Lee story 'Cooking a chicken in Paris' Gaynor Kane poetry of her Superhero Nephew, and Michael Callaghan sang us out with 'Eileen good night'

Kate Mc Grail sings 'The Boy's from the Co Armagh'

Our Limerick Laughs competition won by Byddi Lee while ridiculing a ''difficult first line''; Thanks to Tim, Bridie, Yvonne,Aisling/ Roisin, and an email entry from Patrica Gibson which came second .....last!

Special thanks and acknowledgement of the kind words from Karen Mooney, poet, on her welcome and hospitality she has received from the Armagh people during the John Hewitt week. NB, Karen.

Armagh Stars of tomorrow....no not tomorrow  Stars of today!

 

Tin Man enters under the Rainbow

Four packed houses as Spotlight Studios presents Wizard of Oz in Abbey Lane Theatre over the weekend. See here a transformed forecourt as the audience are kept outside till a Munchkin peers over the 'City Gates' and invites the eager crowds to enter. Shows by 2 dozen 5-7yr olds and 20+ from 8 -young teens strutted their stuff on our stage. Drama in Armagh has just got a big transfusion of new blood for a bright future.

 

First line....... 'There was a wee woman called June'

5 lines , first two and last rhyme, middle two rhyme with each other.

Really really good prizes this month HONEST. Everyone will get a chance to win if they have a Limerick!

Keeping the wheels of Drama moving through productions at Armagh Theatre Group is an on going procedure. Their inception, or conception, more than often comes in the form of one of our regular reading nights the most recent which was Tuesday past. Yes, at times eveyone involved in a production  often feels that sence of expection and worry, like new parents, as we approach the 'birthing' date. The staging of a new production.

We read 'London Vertigo' by B Freil  set as a period farce (Hilarious) ; 'The car journey' by Thornton Wilder (Our Town) a moving one act that we all can relate to. Also 'The Donahue Sisters' by Geraldine Aron another one act,

very funny with an unexpected shocking twist!

There on the night, Claire, Bridie, Goretti, Malcolm, Tim, Maria, Byddi, Felim. Also Paul Mc, Malachi and Aideen not in pic). Thanks to all for coming along. Next readings will be in June. KEEP EYE ON WEBSITE FOR DATE.

 

 IMG 1662

Una Boylan joined Armagh Theatre Group soon after its foundation in 1966 and quickly became an essential part of the group right up to 2018.  Her last performance on stage in 2016 was in 'Two's' and she was scheduled to take part in a comedy this Autumn, to be held  in her beloved Abbey Lane Theatre.  

Given her dynamic personality she held positions on committee from: Vice-Chair, Chair and President and while acting and producing plays, she raised the necessary funds to keep us afloat through decades of raffles.

Her enthusiasm was infectious and she never stopped recruiting to the ranks at every opportunity. Dozens of young and not so young actors got their 'break' on stage due to  her cajoling and encouragement. 

Amagh Theatre Group will forever be indebted to her drive, enthusiasm and good humour in her efforts to bring live drama to the people of Armagh. During the time when violence and disturbances were daily occurrences she, along with others in Armagh Theatre Group provided a vital cross-community group for drama, resulting in the vibrant Drama and Arts community that continues to blossom in Armagh City today.

David Braziel, guest poet and slam champion delights the audience at Abbey Lane Open Mic Night in February. With one of his first poems David told us of his childhood clumsiness and his Mother's fight with doctors to investigate this.  She succeeded and David had to wear calipers for hip problems for awhile. Cured? not quite as David informs me next day his clumsiness returned when he tripped in his livingroom and dislocated his knee Ouch!. He's now plastered to the thigh..Life mirrors Art  again. Hoping you recover quickly David, best wishes from all in Armagh Theatre Group.

The rest of the night we had a Butterfly, Spike Milligan tribute and Limerick Laughs competition along with a host  of new and old contributors. The butterfly# braved the Baltic winds to wake up under the heat of spotlights and sparked at least 2 poems on its appearance (see OMN page).

First up Margurita singing 'In my father's house; Peter Carragher's yarns and storytelling;

Andrew McMurdie# guitar/song 'Stand by me': Thomas Healy on Harp; Tim Hanna drinking Harp, & a poem; Mark Brownlee# original poetry:Theresa&Carmel sisters# singing 'Sailing by' and poem;Joe McCool poem 'Thanks'.

 Peter Carragher regales us. Tim Hanna wins Limerick Laughs clapometer.

Daniel Corrigan, guitar and original song; Jacqueline McMurdie#, guitar and singing 'The Rose';

Felim Rafferty, original poem;Thomas Healy poem in Gaelic; David Braziel returned with a couple more poems; John Goodwin# sings 'Harris Mare';

 Joe McGinley#, original poem; Peter Carragher jokes and Pat Prunty sang '4.3d' to finish another great OMNIGHT!

Thank you to all who partook, who came to be entertained and who helped with lights, door, bar, tea's and coffees! on such a cold night.. take a bow! (The # = new faces)

Next month's OMNight will be 30th March. Keep watching for guests and Limericks theme

Having packed the Studio Theatre at the Market Place Armagh for their three night run the cast and crew of 'Gaslight'  take a deserved break. As with all our productions we lean on the generosity and kindness  of many to let us indulge in our chosen madness so apart from the members of ATG we would like to thank.  The ARMAGH CLUB, Armagh: Thomas Daly Furniture and Antiques,Battleford Rd Armagh: ABC COUNCIL:  the staff and management of Market Place Theatre and of course, you our faithful supporters.  Just a few shots of the stage going up and coming down.

 

 

With guests having torturous journeys in their efforts to get to 'Abbey Lane' yesterday, due to Ryan Air and Northway disruptions, it was a surprise we ended up with a show at all. But as my Mother use to say "these things are sent to try us" and we rose to that challenge with some aplomb. A debt of gratitude is owed to Brian and Eithne Vallely from the Piper's Club who, even Michael O'Leary's intransigence,  could not deflect their efforts to attend from London. Yet where one overcomes hundreds of miles of travel our other guest, Colin Hassard, frustratingly was thwarted in his attempt to travel from Banbridge via Port -e- down!  The  lesson there is travel by Scarvair via Tandragee!Colin.  Better luck next time.  Last night's contributors included Thomas Healy's first collection of poetry 'True Loss', Joan Clendinning proving she STILL is firing on all cylinders as she recited a Longfellow's poem unaided and Michael Callaghan with the aid of his 'walker' coming to the stage and singing so beautifully 'Where my Ellen is waiting for me' . New writings and stories from Dymphna, Tim, Ann and Malachi. Another first by Elma McEneaney with her Ukulele and her Mother, Ann, solo singing and dueting with her. Margarite Kelly singing 'Sonny' and Pat Prunty with her redition of Teddy O'Neill'. Finally the big prize in the Limerick Laughs competition was won by Bridie Heaney and thanks to Linda from L.A. IMAGE in Thomas Street ARMAGH for the generous Gift token. Bridie said, in an exclusive interview, she"will use it to help beautify herself for her new roll" in the Bardic production coming soon. We await with bated breath!.